| Builders of Our Country: Book II|
|by Gertrude van Duyn Southworth|
| A lively account of American history told through 31 biographies, beginning with Patrick Henry at the start of the Revolution and ending with Andrew Carnegie at the close of the 19th century. The biographies are so chosen as to acquaint the reader with the chief personages and events in our national life, by including many vivid pictures of each. Ages 10-12 |
THE EMIGRANT'S BOY
 ABOUT the time the injustice of the Stamp Act was
common talk in the thirteen colonies, a poor Irish emigrant
and his family set sail for America.
The father was Andrew Jackson. He and his wife and
two sons, Hugh and Robert, landed in America and made
a clearing on Twelve
Mile Creek, a branch
of the Catawba River.
After two short
years of struggle to
gain a living for his
family, Andrew Jackson died. The wife
was left to care for
Hugh and Robert, and
a baby boy, who was
born on March 15, 1767, a few days after the father's death.
The mother named her little boy after his father. And
now we have come to the hero of our story, Andrew
THE BIRTHPLACE OF ANDREW JACKSON.
On the death of her husband, Mrs. Jackson moved
from the clearing and, with two of her boys, went to the
home of an invalid sister. Here she did what she could
to support her children.
 When the boys were old enough, Mrs. Jackson sent
them to school, where they learned reading, writing, and
arithmetic. As Andrew's mother wished him to become
a minister, he was later sent to another and better school.
But school was a sort of bugbear to Andrew. He was
not much of a student.
He was a thin, barefooted, freckle-faced lad, with
reddish hair and eyes of a beautiful clear blue. He loved
all out-of-door sports—hunting, running, jumping, and
wrestling. He was so full of tricks and fun that he was
called "mischievous Andy."
He was very wiry and active; and, although the stronger
boys could throw him three times out of four, he was so
quick in getting to his feet that they couldn't keep him
down. He was never afraid of the older lads, and always
took the part of the smaller and weaker boys. But Andy
had his faults as well as his virtues. One of these was his
quick temper, which was always ready to blaze forth. As
he grew older he learned to control it; but even then it
sometimes ran away, with him, and he did things for which
he was very sorry afterwards.
Although still a little fellow when the Revolution
began, Andrew took the liveliest interest in it; and when
the campaign in the South brought the fighting near his
home, he learned a lesson in British cruelty, which he
In the summer of 1780 he and Robert attached
themselves to a band of dragoons. It is hard to tell just what
work was assigned to such young boys, but they saw at
least one battle during that summer. This must have
been an anxious time for the mother, especially as her
son Hugh, who had enlisted in the American army, had
The next year Robert and Andrew Jackson were
 captured by the British. One day, while they were
prisoners, an officer ordered Andrew to clean his muddy
boots. The boy's temper was up in an instant; and he,
flashed out, "Sir, I'm not your slave. I am your prisoner;
and, as such, I refuse to do the work of a slave."
Angered at the lad's boldness, the officer raised his
sword to strike. Andrew parried the blow, but received
two severe wounds, the scars of which he carried to the
He and Robert were soon sent to the prison pen at
Camden. This was a large yard around the jail. The
poor soldiers had no shelter and hardly any food. Some
of them had smallpox, and everything was as wretched
as could be. Day by day the men waited for the help
that did not come. Andrew's mother had been pleading
for her sons' release and finally succeeded in getting them
exchanged for British prisoners. When they left the
prison, both boys had smallpox. Robert died, and
Andrew recovered only after a long illness.
As soon as his mother could leave him, the patriotic
woman went to care for the soldiers on the prison ships is
Charleston Harbor. There she took a fever; and she, too,
died. Poor Andrew was now left to face the world alone.
LAWYER AND FIGHTER
FOR a while after his mother's death Andrew Jackson
tried his hand as saddler and school-teacher. Then he
decided to study law; and for this he went to Salisbury,
At the age of twenty-one, after he had been admitted
to the bar, young Jackson joined a party that crossed the
Blue Ridge Mountains into Tennessee and settled in
Nashville. The freckle-faced schoolboy had grown into,
 a man, six feet and one inch tall, with the same thick
reddish hair and sharp blue eyes.
When he had been in Nashville a while, he was
appointed by President Washington to the office of United
States Attorney. This was an honor attended with much
danger. In Jackson's new position it was his duty to
punish horse stealing, land stealing, and to settle all kinds
of quarrels. He had to go from one place to another to
hold court, and on his journeys through the forests the
danger from the Indians and his enemies was great.
Tennessee was the far West of that day, and many
rough adventurers flocked there. These men had no
respect for law, nor did they care what they did to avenge
supposed wrongs. It was among such people that
Jackson had to preserve order. But in spite of diflicuities,
he did his utmost to fulfill the duties of his office. Once
he even drew out two large pistols and laid them on his
table by way of subduing a bully who had vowed he would
not be tried. A fight followed, then and there. But in
the end, Jackson restored order and tried the man. This
is merely one incident out
of many such, in his life as
United States Attorney.
In 1791 Jackson married. His home during his
married life was on a large
plantation not far from
Nashville. Here he built
a house, which he called
"The Hermitage." Rich
and poor alike were welcome here, and "The Hermitage" was always famous for
On his plantation Jackson devoted much time to his
 horses, of which he had a goodly number. He was
passionately fond of them, and none knew better than he
how to raise and train thoroughbreds.
Once he had a quarrel about a horse race, with a man
named Dickinson. In consequence the two fought a duel,
as was the customary way of settling quarrels in those
days. Dickinson was a "dead shot" and boasted that he
would surely kill Jackson. They met at the appointed
time. Dickinson fired. Then Jackson fired, and the
boaster fell to the ground, dying soon after. Jackson,
with his surgeon and a friend, had left the scene of the
duel and gone some distance when his companions saw
blood oozing from Jackson's clothes. He had had two
ribs shattered, but had told no one that he was wounded.
Such was his fearless courage and his great endurance of
This same ability to endure won for him in his military
life of later years the loving title of "Old Hickory." "He
is as tough as hickory," his soldiers were wont to say.
A few years rolled by; and then one summer the Creek
Indians attacked Fort Mimms in Alabama and massacred
about five hundred men, women, and children who had
taken refuge there. Jackson, who had long before been
elected Major General of the Tennessee militia, took
command of a detachment and marched against the Indians.
Before he had succeeded in routing them, Jackson
found himself out of provisions. For days the men had
but small rations. Then, because of their sufferings, and
because their short terms of enlistment had come to an
end, they said they were going home. It took all the
patience and tact that Jackson had to keep his men
together, and three different times he had to use one part
of his army to keep the rest from marching away.
After this campaign, in which the power of the Creeks
 was broken, Jackson received the title of Major General in
the United States army. His greatest triumphs were
yet to come.
The War of 1812 was now in progress; and a few
months after subduing the Creeks, General Jackson and
his troops were ordered south to keep the British out of the
In Florida, which still belonged to Spain, the British
had been allowed to land at the town of Pensacola. When
Jackson heard of this he marched against the sleepy little
Spanish town and drove the British back to their ships.
Then he went to the defense of New Orleans, as that city
was the key to the Mississippi.
The English soldiers sent to take New Orleans were
veterans just from the wars with Napoleon. Their foreign
victories were still fresh in their minds, and they thought
what short work they would make of the backwoodsmen
GENERAL JACKSON KEEPING WATCH OF
THE ENEMY FROM THE ROOF OF HIS HEADQUARTERS IN NEW ORLEANS.
On the 8th of January, 1815, the British made their
last advance against the city. All their previous attacks
had been repelled by the vigilance and activity of General
Jackson. Nor did he mean to be beaten now. "Old
Hickory" was everywhere on that memorable day.
"Stand to your guns!" "See that every shot tells!"
were his commands. And so well did the soldiers obey,
that when the battle was over they could claim an
overwhelming victory. The British had lost more than
twenty-five hundred men.
The saddest thing about the whole war was that the
battle of New Orleans was fought after peace had been
declared. The agreement was made in Europe; and just
because there were no cables or fast ocean steamers in
those days, the news of peace did not reach this country
until after these many lives had been sacrificed.
 The victory of New Orleans made Jackson very
popular throughout the country. On his return home he was
welcomed with great joy by the people of Tennessee.
Famous visitors now came to "The Hermitage."
Among them was General Lafayette on his last visit to
America. Lafayette said of Jackson, "That is a great
man. He has much before him yet."
 It was not long before this prophecy came true; for
in 1828 Andrew Jackson was elected President of the
United States. Mrs. Jackson died a short time after the
election, and Jackson was heartbroken. He had now no
desire to go to Washington and be President, but he faced
the duty bravely.
AS President, Andrew Jackson showed the same
fearlessness that he had displayed in battle.
The South at this time was opposed to the law which
put a high tariff, or tax, on imported goods. The northern
states wanted this tariff because they were manufacturing
states. They said that Americans ought to buy goods
made in America, and that
the way to make them support the home industries was
to force a high price on
foreign manufactures. The
southern states were not
manufacturing states, and so
had to buy their finished
woolen and cotton cloth from
either the North or Europe.
Before the tariff, they had
been able to get it from Europe for less than they could
buy it in the North. Now all this was changed. With
the duty that must now be paid, foreign cloth was even
higher in price than cloth made in the North; so the South
was practically forced to buy from the North at her price.
The South claimed that this was an effort to enrich the
 North at the expense of the South. South Carolina,
especially, resented such a step and said that she would
disobey the law.
Senator Hayne from South Carolina made a powerful
speech in Congress, in which he set forth the right of any
State to disobey the laws of the nation.
Daniel Webster answered him. Webster stated that,
according to the Constitution, every state must obey the
laws of Congress and no state had the right to withdraw
from the Union as South Carolina had threatened to do.
He ended with these memorable words: "Liberty and
union, now and forever, one and inseparable."
President Jackson was a southern man, so the South
thought that he would not oppose them. Imagine their
surprise then, when, at a banquet of Southern
sympathizers, he offered the toast, "The Federal Union. It must
and shall be preserved." Jackson agreed with Webster
that the Union should stand ahead of the states, and
that no state had the right to withdraw from it. When
he found that South Carolina was firm in her refusal to
pay the tariff, he said, "Send for General Scott." Troops
were immediately ordered south, and South Carolina withdrew
her opposition. Jackson's firmness of decision had
put off the day of secession.
At the end of his second term of office, Andrew Jackson
retired to his plantation home, where he spent the few
remaining years of his life in peace and quiet. He will
always be remembered for his fearless devotion to what
he believed to be right, and will live in the hearts of all
loyal Americans as one who helped to preserve the union
of our country.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics